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Editor's Note: Alternative Energy = Economic Security

Apr/May 10
Although academics at the National Bureau of Economic Research announced in mid-April that they could not yet "pinpoint" the official end of the recession, there's enough bullish sentiment among industry leaders for most observers to conclude that the recession has come to an end.

According to KPMG's Global Business Outlook survey conducted at the end of the first quarter, U.S. manufacturing executives' optimism increased since they were last surveyed in October 2009. In fact, 71 percent said business activity would be higher in the coming year.

Additionally, for the first time in two years, more CEOs expect to add jobs than to cut jobs, said the Business Roundtable in April: 29 percent plan to increase hiring over the next six months, while only 21 percent said they would cut staff over that period.

What would help manufacturing executives to grow their businesses? They are petitioning Congress to enact tax credits for industrial energy-efficiency projects, particularly to expand the use of combined heat and power (CHP) and waste energy recovery from industrial facilities, which will do much to reduce pollution.

And, there is "A Governmental Drive Toward Energy-Efficiency." From PACE (Properly Assessed Clean Energy) Financing to Building STAR to LEED requirements, government measures are increasing energy efficiency and creating jobs.

This issue of Area Development focuses on all aspects of energy, including the "The Promise of the U.S. Cleantech Industry." In our cover story this month, the authors compare growth of the cleantech industry to growth of the Internet, i.e., fast and furious. The United States is in a global race for the production of solar panels, wind turbines, advanced batteries, and other alternative energy technologies. Cleantech companies are looking for new markets, low costs, and top talent. Incentives also come into play. Incentives for wind turbine manufacturers, in particular, are also discussed in this issue in "The Winds of Change."

As we went to press on this issue, hopes for long-awaited Congressional energy legislation - that included vital measures to cap greenhouse gas emissions and encourage alternative energy sources - seemed to have been dashed once again because of political wrangling. This is unfortunate because efforts that encourage alternative energy technologies will also increase the nation's economic security. If the fledgling economic recovery is to be sustainable, then lawmakers and industry must now get on the same page.

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